Breaking news, sports and campus news from Western Kentucky University

Local Sunrise Movement holds “Renters Rally” at city hall

The Bowling Green Sunrise Movement held a “Renters Rally” at Bowling Green City Hall on Tuesday to advocate for better conditions for local renters.

Three items were included on the movement’s list of demands from the local government. First, adoption of a “tenant bill of rights,” which would limit how landlords can evict their tenants. Second, reformation of courts for cases dealing with evictions and third, a rental assistance fund.

Rachel Fantasia, the Bowling Green hub coordinator for the Sunrise Movement, hoped the event would highlight the challenges that renters face, especially in the midst of COVID-19.

“We’ll make sure that folks during this pandemic are able to receive some of the financial assistance that our federal government is kind of neglecting,” Fantasia said.

Fantasia joined the movement because her family was evicted when she was 10 years old. Because of that, she has felt a strong drive to improve conditions of renters.

According to a pamphlet from the rally, a rental assistance fund would help alleviate rent debt being accrued by renters.

“With this local rental assistance fund, we ask our commissioners to implement a strong program that ensures tenant security in the long-term,” the pamphlet read. 

The rental assistance fund encompasses three parts. First, landlords would not be able to draft or execute evictions until Kentucky’s COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted, plus one year. 

Second, the group asked for “good cause eviction practices” to be enacted and remain in place until the end of 2023, as well as a freeze on current rent levels for all tenants for the same time.

Roger Langley, a resident of Nashville originally from Bowling Green, attended the rally and said he supports Sunrise after hearing about it’s policies.

“I heard about the movement today and I decided to come down,” Langley said. “A lot of it makes sense.”

Todd Alcott, mayor of Bowling Green, expressed his support of the idea to the group before Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, saying he considered it his duty to listen to the organizers. Alcott also said he believes there is hope for the movement’s cause.

“I think there’s opportunity if we work with each other and we listen to each other,” Alcott said. “No one wants to be left holding the bag — no one wants to be evicted.”

Photographer Jack Dobbs can be reached at [email protected].

More to Discover
Activate Search
Local Sunrise Movement holds “Renters Rally” at city hall